I showed up in The Ph unannounced and everyone was surprised, including me

Over the summer, I planned a surprise visit for my family in The Philippines. It was challenging to keep it a secret – we talk every day and they constantly ask when I am going home for the holidays. But when the day finally arrived, I could not ask for a better outcome!

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Fall travels: 3 countries, 8 fairytale destinations, and a surprise ending

Funnily enough, the coming of the colder months brought us more travel opportunities. It makes me glad because I seem to be more adjusted to the climate and more prepared with clothes so now having fun outside is possible even if it is not 30 C.

Our adventures this Fall started in the Alsace, a historic region in France with Old Towns every bit as perfect as those inside snow globes. I do not think I will ever get over it.

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If there’s one German city I would suggest you visit

It would be Dresden. Granted, I have only been to six out of the 16 Bundesländer, but Dresden is my favorite so far, and it is not just because of the surprising food diversity we found there.

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Where to eat in Prague for vegetarians

We visited Prague for a short holiday last month and on the train, we were sat next to two women from Berlin who were wondering where to eat in Prague since they are vegetarian.

I feel like this is a legitimate question, the local Bohemian cuisine being known for meat dishes, like goulash, grilované klobásy, and koleno, not to mention the popular pražská šunka or Prague ham sold in small kiosks in the Old Town Square.

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No meat, will barbecue plus other thoughts on seasonal eating

What do you give your non-meat eating friends when you invite them to a barbecue? Before, I would assume they are doomed to sides, unable to fully enjoy the experience. Now I know better, of course, and am having a good time eating and running experiments this barbecue season.

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What I learned from gym climbing as a beginner

Is it funny that I prefer facing someone trying to roundhouse kick me in the head than go climbing in a gym? Yes? No? I respect climbers and am fascinated by what they do, but I have always thought it was not for me.

It was for Markus though. He has climbed before when he lived in another city working for the UN, and he suggested we should try a top-rope course in a nearby climbing gym.

Well.

Where should I begin?

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Oh, Bavaria

Do you like camping? I have never really camped before but Markus has done it with his family all his life that it is only natural we also had a go together.

Our adventure happened a couple of weeks back. Markus’ parents lent us all the camping gear we can ever need, and at 5 AM, we drove to a camping place in Bavaria by the Pilsensee. I was quite excited. The idea of spending time in nature, keeping it simple, and having tons of sun and quiet – I am all for it.

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We’re coming up roses

In The Philippines, I have tried to take care of my sister’s roses. She likes them so much that she keeps buying them, big and small, regardless of obscene prices, totally ignoring the fact that they will surely die in two months or so despite our best efforts.

I wish she could have seen the roses at Steinfurth – red, coral, pink, white, sunset, and gold blooms in every shape and form imaginable. The scent was so thick in the air I could almost see and taste it. At every turn, I stood in the middle of a rose ocean, beautiful, vibrant, and celebratory; very much unlike our decrepit roses back home.

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Thank you for 25, 532 turtle hatchlings this pawikan Season 2

Earlier this month, the pawikan babies emerged out of the sand from the last nest in the hatchery adopted by Leeeeeenda. You know what that means: Season 2 for the Pag-asa Pawikan Protection and Conservation Center has ended and it was an unimaginable success, thanks to all of your support!

The total number of turtles released this season? 25, 532 out of 27, 384 eggs nursed by the volunteers. Majority are Olive Ridley but we had a few Green turtles, too.

In Season 1, we were so happy to have released 7, 501 Olive Ridley turtles from 7, 908 collected eggs. Over 300% growth is a lot to celebrate this year and we cannot thank you enough for being with us since Day 1 of this journey.

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War is a mere continuation of politics with other means

In the toolbox of policymakers, war is one among many. When deemed appropriate by the powers that be, war can be chosen as a means of enacting policy – no more or less legitimate than any other – albeit, crucially, not to replace, but to complement other tools of policy.

When the Prussian military General Carl von Clausewitz penned these words in his seminal work On War (“Vom Kriege”) sometime between 1816 and his death in 1831, he was thinking of the Napoleonic wars from the start of the 19th century. Since then, they have been applied and re-applied repeatedly, not least by the German leadership during World War I.

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